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Abdullah says he’ll get better after fumbling twice

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — Matthew Stafford wasn’t the only Lion to get pulled from Sunday’s game.

Rookie running back Ameer Abdullah didn’t get a single touch after the first 20 minutes, following his second fumble of the afternoon.

“Anytime you put the ball on the ground,” said Lions coach Jim Caldwell, “obviously, your chances of being able to play for us consistently are going to be minimized.”

The Lions drafted Abdullah with a second-round pick in the April draft, despite his reputation for fumbling at Nebraska. He fumbled 23 times in four years at Nebraska, losing 16 of them.

Still, the Lions have seen little of that side of him — other than a fumble, that wasn’t lost, in the season opener.

That is, until Sunday’s 42-17 loss to the Cardinals.

After the Lions gave away the ball with an interception on their first drive, Abdullah fumbled it away on their second, in Cardinals territory.

Then early in the second, with Detroit trailing 14-7, Abdullah did some nice work on an Arizona kickoff, taking the ball from deep in the end zone and scampering 41 yards. But he fumbled again, and it appeared he lost it again.

Good news for the Lions: They kept the ball, as an official ruled, and a Cardinals challenge was denied, that a player touched the ball out of bounds before Arizona pounced on it.

Bad news for Abdullah: That was pretty much the end of his day, albeit some of that was due to the fact the Lions trailed big, and threw a lot, in the second half.

He finished with six carries for 17 yards, and the one long kickoff return.

“It’s tough to talk to you guys,” Abdullah said. “I’m taking ownership of it. I know what I’ve got to do.

“I know what I’ve got to get better on, and I will get better.”

Zach Zenner, also a rookie who signed as an undrafted free agent, led the rushing attack after Abdullah’s second fumble, finishing with 30 yards on 10 carries.

Joique Bell, his awful season on the field compounded by an ankle injury, was inactive for Sunday’s game.